AmEx Gift Card

AmEx Gift Card Deals Dead

fuel rewards network back to school promoToday, I received Fuel Rewards Network rewards a week earlier than expected. Currently, FRN has a back-to-school promotion. Through Sep 14th, you can earn double rewards on its shopping portal. I purchased $2000 AmEx GCs on Aug 14th. A base reward is 5¢/gal discount every $50 purchase, and this gets double. So, 2000/50*5*2=$4/gal discount was posted to my FRN account. Since you can redeem FRN reward for up to 20 gallon, $4/gal is worth $80, which is like 4% cash back. This was great. I wish I could earn another one during the promotion, but AmEx GC link had disappeared on FRN online mall at the same time as other shopping portals stopped Amex GC cash back offer. (See details here)

On Sep 2nd, I made AmEx GC purchase through “Simply Best Coupons”, which offers 1% cash back and a promo code to waive a purchase fee. Since then, Simply Best Coupons had been the best portal for AmEx GC purchase, but that has been gone, too. All you can find in the website is a promo code that waives a purchase fee.

Here are the today’s screenshots of and

cashbackmonitor amex gccashbackholic amex gc

80 percent cash back on amex gcThere are much fewer portals, and most of them are not famous or reputable sites. The picture on the right is the page of AmEx GC at This is obviously an error. 80% cash back is just impossible!

It seems that AmEx GC deal has been dead, and $99 I paid for Premium Shipping Plan just a few month ago will be wasted until the deal is back. It may not be going to be back forever, though.

I was using AmEx GCs for purchases where my credit cards doesn’t offer bonus cash back. For example, Costco. The only AmEx credit card I have is Blue Cash Preferred. Since Costco is not in “Grocery Stores” category but “Wholesale Clubs”category, there is no bonus. Cash back from Blue Cash Preferred is only 1%. And cash back at grocery stores is 1%, anyway because I have already spent $6000 at grocery stores this year.

AmEx GC purchased through the portals had given me around 2% to 4% discount. I can’t find a way to get 4% discount, but around 2% is easily obtained in the other ways. Here are some ways I came up with.

Apply “Citi Double Cash Card”

Earn 1% cash back when you purchase, and another 1% when you pay the bill. It is simply 2% cash back on all purchases. Since Citi Double Cash is not AmEx (Visa or MasterCard, not sure which one), I can’t use at Costco warehouses, but I can use it online to buy a Costco gift card and use it in warehouses.

Apply “Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card”

Another 2%-cash-back credit card. Since this card is AmEx, I can use it directly in Costco warehouses.

Load “AmEx for Target” with grocery-stores-bonus credit cards

I have never done this before, and it is not verified. According to Visa Supplier Locator, Target is categorized as Grocery Stores. Using Visa credit cards such as “US Bank Cash+” and “BankAmericard Cash Rewards” (both cards offer 2% cash back on grocery purchases) to load AmEx for Target may give you 2% cash back. As a rule of AmEx for Target, the maximum amount per load is $1000, and it is charged $3. If the transaction is eligible for 2% cash back, you will earn $20-$3=$17 each load. So, you get 1.7%-discounted AmEx prepaid card. This doesn’t work AmEx Blue Cash cards. That is because AmEx doesn’t consider Target as “Grocery Stores”, but “Superstores”. It is clearly stated in their website.

Currently, I don’t have any of these credit cards. Now that AmEx GCs deal is dead, I definitely need one of them, especially “Citi Double Cash Card” or “Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card”. After doing some more research, I will apply at least one of them.

Can’t Find Cash Back Portals for American Express Gift Card

amex gc cash back comparisonRecently, the rate of cash back for the purchase of American Express Gift Cards got lower. (see details here) But now I found it worse than ever. In the last few months, the cash back rate for AmEx GCs were between 2% and 3%. Last night, before buying AmEx GC, I went to to see which portal offer the best rate. As you see, 2.1% from Befrugal was the best. I was hoping for a better rate, but there was no choice. The amount of the previous AmEx GC was nearly zero. And although 2.1% was not really great deal, but I could still save money with it.

However, there was a problem. I couldn’t find a page of AmEx GCs at Then I went to TopCashBack, that offers 2.0% (according to cashbackmonitor). Same here, there was no page or link at TopCashBack. I checked some other portals. I didn’t check all of them, but I could manage to find a few portals that offered cash back, Simply Best Coupons, Ebates, and Mr. Rebates. The rate was merely 1%. The only consolation was that Simply Best Coupons had a promo code to waive a purchase fee of $3.95.

In July and August, I purchased four AmEx GCs with a promo code which is not posted on the portal site. As a result, all pending cash back ($175.50 in total) was cancelled. (see details here)

amex gc cash back portalsToday, I checked cashbackmonitor. As you see, all travel reward portals have gone, and there are only seven cash back portals. 1% is the highest, and promo code to waive a purchase fee can be found ONLY at Simply Best Coupons.

Is 1% cash back still worthwhile? It depends on face value of AmEx GC you buy. Say you buy $1000 AmEx GC with AmEx Blue Cash credit card. You can waive a purchase fee of $3.95 at Simply Best Coupons.

  • Purchase fee $0
  • Shipping -$8.95
  • 1% cash back from credit card +$10.09
  • 1% cash back from portal +$10.00
  • Total profit is $11.14

The profit is only 1.11% of $1000. This isn’t great. However, if you buy $5000 AmEx GC, total profit is $91.14. It’s 1.82% of $5000. Not bad. If you enroll in Premium Shipping Plan (see details here), shipping cost may be calculated less. So, you can manage to get close to 2% discount.

Just a few months ago, I had already enrolled in Premium Shipping Plan. I usually order 3 or 4 AmEx GCs per month. So, shipping cost is calculated less than $3 each order. After considering all of these calculations, I placed an order of $2000 AmEx GC. Simply Best Coupons already posted a pending cash back.

I hope Befrugal or TopCashBack offer cash back for AmEx GCs again, but for now Simply Best Coupons with a promo code is the best option for purchasing American Express Gift Cards. Click here to visit Simply Best Coupons and don’t forget to use promo code when you purchase AmEx GCs.

American Express Serve $25 Bonus offer & $10 Good Faith Credit

serve get 25 back aug 15 sep 13I received two credits from Serve recently. One is $25, and the other is $10. As for $25, a short description says, “Thanks for Using Your Card.” And here is an email I received earlier. I needed to make 5 transactions of $10 or more to receive the credit. I started using my Serve card on Aug 27th. I believed that was the transaction#1. And I would need 4 more transactions, and I was thinking where to use. But two days later, somehow I already received the $25-credit. I check my transactions since Aug 16th. I made six bill pays and 2 regular purchases. One of them is the purchase of gift cards at Bed Bath and Beyond. The purchase was for Amex Offer “$5 back on $25 or more purchase.” I wasn’t sure if this transaction was eligible for another offer. So I didn’t count as one of five transactions for the new offer. However, the credit was posted, that means I didn’t have to do anything for the new offer. It seems that only regular bill pays meet the requirements to receive the credit.

serve credit 25 10

The other credit is $10 and was posted on Aug 27th. It is described as Good Faith Credit. I had no idea what this credit is for until I received this email today.

At American Express, we are committed to providing you with the best American Express Serve® Account experience possible. We recently fell short on this commitment and experienced an error related to an offer you added to your Serve card. We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you more about this error and how we’ve resolved it.

We offered you a one-time $10 statement credit when you used your enrolled Card to spend a total of $200 or more on American Express Gift Cards. Although you were able to enroll in this offer, your American Express Gift Card order was declined, and you were not able to receive the $10 credit.

To correct this error, we have issued a $10 statement credit to your American Express Serve Account. We would like to offer our sincere apology that you were unable to redeem the offer.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1‑800‑954‑0559 to speak to an American Express Serve Customer Care Professional.

We truly value your membership and will continue working to ensure you have a positive American Express Serve Account experience.


The American Express Serve Team

I remember this. There was Amex Offer, but you couldn’t redeem. I actually synced the offer and tried to make a purchase of AmEx GC. The transaction was declined because they don’t take prepaid or gift cards as payment. (see details here) No big deal, I didn’t care much about it, but American Express took it seriously and resolved generously. American Express issues lots of useful offers and takes good care of their customers.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred vs Everyday

amex blue cash credit cardThe two credit cards from American Express, Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday, both offer bonus cash back on the purchase at grocery stores and gas stations. Preferred charges an annual fee of $75, and Everyday has no annual fee.



  • 6% cash back at grocery stores (up to $6000 per year in purchases, 1% after that)
  • 3% cash back at gas stations and selected department stores
  • 1% cash back on any other purchases


  • 3% cash back at grocery stores (up to $6000 per year in purchases, 1% after that)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and selected department stores
  • 1% cash back on any other purchases

The limits only apply on purchases at grocery stores. Cash back at gas stations and department stores are unlimited. Let’s say that you use two cards at grocery stores only. When you spend $2500 a year, cash back from two cards are:

  • Preferred $2500 x 0.06 – $75 (annual fee) = $75
  • Everyday $2500 x 0.03 = $75

So, if you spend more than $2500 a year (or $208.33 a month), you’d better choose Preferred over Everyday. After you have spent $6000 at grocery stores, you can still earn 1% cash back. You can track your spending on each category online account page. The picture is how statement looks like when grocery purchases has exceeded $6000. There are two lines for U.S. Supermarkets, and one is follow by “1%”.

amex blue cash reward statement

What to Do when reaching $6000 limit

Until next year, My AmEx Blue Cash Preferred offers only 1% cash back at grocery stores. You can use another card that offer cash back more than 1%. For example, 2% Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa, 2% US Bank Cash+ Visa, etc. Or you may apply for another AmEx Blue Cash card. But maybe you don’t want to have many credit cards, or don’t have credit score good enough to get approved of new credit cards. For those people, there is a way to continue to get bonus cash back at grocery stores with the same AmEx Blue Cash even after you have spent $6000 at grocery store. The key item is American Express Gift Card.

You can purchase AmEx GCs online, at their website But you shouldn’t go to the site directly. You have to go through online shopping portal sites. A rate of cash back for the purchase of AmEx GCs varies from portal to portal. However, most of the time, either Befrugal or TopCashBack offers the highest rate between 2% and 3%. A purchase fee of AmEx GC is $3.95 regardless of value of gift card. There are some different shipping options and costs, but say you purchase $1000 AmEx GC with cheapest shipping option. A purchase Fee and shipping cost $3.95+$8.95=12.90. You have to spend $12.90 for $1000 cash equivalent item, but credit card reward’s 1% cash back covers most of it. So, cash back from the portal will remain! It means that you always get 2% to 3% discount every time you use AmEx GC.


American Express Blue Cash Preferred and Everyday are both great credit cards for grocery store purchases. To offset an annual fee of Preferred ($75), you need to spend $2500 annually at grocery store. (if you use the cards only at grocery stores) As a rough indication, if you spend less than $2500 a year, choose Everyday. If you spend more than $2500 a year, choose Preferred. In my opinion, $2500 is just a little amount. It is $208.33 per month. Even if you don’t buy foods at grocery stores, some grocery stores sell gift cards. You can buy merchant or Visa/MasterCard gift cards to get full 6% bonus cash back ($360) easily.

FRN Offer Equivalent to 4% Cash Back on AmEx GC

frn bonus rewardFuel Rewards Network (FRN) currently offer a promotion. You can earn extra 5¢/gal discount for every $50 purchase made through FRN shopping portal. The promotion ends on Sep 14th. The portal regularly offers 5¢/gal for every $50 purchase, and now it’s double! 10¢/gal. Please note that the rewards won’t double on bonus reward. Some retailers originally offer 2x, 3x… reward, but you can’t earn 4x, 6x…. on this promotion. It is just that you can earn EXTRA 5¢/gal for every $50 purchase.

Deal is back now! If you buy a $500 American Express gift card, you earn $1/gal discount. In July, reward on AmEx GC purchases went down from 2x to 1x (10¢ to 5¢/gal). The same thing happened to all other shopping portals. As of Aug 13th, best portal and rate for AmEx GC is 2.7% cash back at FRN reward is redeemable up to 20 gallons. So, during this promotion, FRN reward for AmEx GC is equivalent to 4% cashback. It is currently the best rate of all portals.

After July, most portals stop paying cash back for AmEx GC purchase if you use any promo code. There is always a promo code available to waive $3.95 purchase fee. But if you use the code, there is no reward or cash back at all. I bought four AmEx GCs in July and used the promo code on every purchase. Several pending cash back appeared in my account of a portal site, but soon they got all cancelled. (click here to see details)  So, never use any code otherwise you got no reward.

I purchased $2000 AmEx GC through FRN today, and it will give me $4/gal discount. From my experience, the reward will be posted and available in approximately 30 days. It’s too bad that I can’t confirm the reward during the promotion, but as long as you read the terms and conditions, and do nothing against them, and you will earn a reward.

Use Coupon No Cash Back from BeFrugal on AmEx Gift Cards

Today, I logged in my BeFrugal account and noticed that my Total Balance got significantly lower than yesterday. I checked Cash Back Activity and found out that all pending cash back on AmEx gift cards looked cancelled. I made three orders in July, and one of orders was actually cancelled by American Express. Because I tried to use AmEx Serve for the purchase of the gift card. BeFrugal shows this transaction like this (picture below).

cash back on amex gc cancelled

But today, I got the same one on the other two orders, which weren’t cancelled. The orders had completed. I received the cards and used up already. I remembered that BeFrugal described the following in terms of AmEx GC.

If you choose to apply a coupon or deal that is not posted on, we are unable to guarantee that you will receive cash back on your purchase.

I used a coupon code to waive a purchase fee on all orders. Although I read terms, I assumed that I would earn cash back because other retailers paid before even when I used a coupon that was not on BeFrugal. And today, the terms have updated like this

Cash back not valid on any order with a coupon code applied

is befrugal going to cancel this order tooI made an order a few days ago in August. Cash Back is pending now, and I don’t see the sign of cancel. But I guess  it will be cancelled later. Now that terms is very clear, I won’t use the code that waives a purchase fee of only $3.95. Pay a purchase fee and I will earn cash back which is guaranteed by BeFrugal. This is still a good deal, and I feel comfortable because there is no need to worry about cancellation of cash back.

I wish BeFrugal updated terms eariler, but I can’t blame them. Last month, they said “we are unable to guarantee that you will receive cash back” and they had to cancel my cash back. Nothing is wrong with them. It is all my fault. Befrugal describes terms on every merchants in a detailed way. This is why I continue to use Befrugal, and it is my favorite free online shopping portal!

Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 2/2

If you never sell stuffs online, the strategy described on the previous post might be a little overwhelming. If there is a way to turn an AmEx gift card into cash easily, you will earn the reward over and over. Of course, there is no such a perfect method. However, there is a way to do so with a little work and some conditions.

Sell AmEx Gift Card on eBay

selling amex gc on ebayThe fastest way to turn AmEx gift cards into cash is to sell them on eBay. Look at the picture. It shows how much fee eBay and PayPal charge you. To get $500 by selling $500 AmEx gift card, you have to sell a gift card at the price of $574.40 (plus shipping cost). Obviously, it is a bad deal for eBay buyers. I guess nobody buys it. But what if you sell five $100 gift cards? For $100 gift card, you need to sell it for $115.15. On eBay, some gift cards are very popular. For whatever reasons, some people pay more than face values for those gift cards. Please remember about $3.95 purchase fee on each card when you buy AmEx gift cards, and $115.15 doesn’t include it. American Express offer free-purchase-fee promotion very often. You can take advantage of the promotion when you sell AmEx gift cards on eBay.

eBay’s Policy of Selling Gift Cards

ebay gift card policyHowever, actually I have never tried to sell any AmEx gift cards on eBay because of eBay’s gift cards policy. According to the policy, you cannot sell Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express Prepaid cards regardless of the amount on the card. You cannot even sell used (no-value $0) prepaid cards as collectibles if an expiration date on the card is within 10 years. Despite the policy, so many cards are sold on eBay. You rarely see active listings of Visa, MarsterCard, Discover, and AmEx because they are sold quickly. If you click “complete listings” or “sold listings”, you will see a lot. It seems easy to sell $100 AmEx gift card for $115.15, but what if buyers report a charge-back? The items are prohibited by the policy, so I don’t think eBay’s seller protection covers these transactions. I sent a question about it to eBay by email, and I’m waiting for an answer. Until my question is clear, I don’t want to risk losing money by selling AmEx gift cards on eBay.

Buy Visa Gift Card

visa gift cardThe reason of converting AmEx GCs into Visa GCs is that Visa GCs are much closer to “Cash form” than AmEx GCs. Unlike AmEx GCs, Visa GCs have some features of Debit Card. Depending on stores, you can get cash back at registers. And more conveniently, you can load BlueBird or Serve with Visa GCs, and then pay bills, withdraw cash at ATM, or transfer to your bank account.

Now, the cycle is completed. You can buy another AmEx GC. There is one problem, though. That’s Visa GCs charge a purchase fee. Purchase fees vary depending on types and denomination of Visa GCs. You should choose a GC with low percentage fee.

Ways to avoid the purchase fee

There are ways to avoid the purchase fee of Visa GCs. Exactly speaking, you can never avoid a purchase fee, however, by using the following store’s gift cards, a purchase fee are offset. Here are what I have found so far.

  • Buy 6% or more discounted Target GCs, and then buy $100 Target Visa GCs with Target GCs
  • Buy 3.5% or more discounted Staples GCs, and then buy $200 Visa GCs with Staples GCs

target and staples gift card secretBoth and allow to purchase gift cards with their own gift cards. If you can get these store’s GCs with equal to or more discount than a purchase fee of Visa GCs, you may as well avoid a purchase fee. It is kind of hard to find 6%-discounted Target GCs, but you can always find 3.5%-discounted Staples GCs at Gift Card Granny. This step may take extra time (a week or so for store’s GCs to be delivered). Instead, you don’t lose money in transactions of purchasing Visa GCs.


That’s all I can come up with so far. To earn a lot of rewards, you have to spend a lot of money. American Express Gift Card is the perfect choice. Use AmEx GC for everyday’s spending unless your credit card has a better reward, such as Blue Cash Preferred 6% Cash Back at grocery stores and Chase ink 5% Cash Back (5X) at office supply stores. And you can buy Visa GCs to boost up the speed of the cycle. The reward shows up and is available for you to use approximately 30 days later. By keep doing this strategy, you get a steady flow of gas reward.

You can join in Fuel Rewards Network online. FRN card will arrive 7 to 10 business days. You need FRN card to redeem the reward, but you don’t need it to earn reward. Start earning today! Click here to sign up (it’s free!)

No Longer Purchase Gift Cards with Staples Gift Cards Online?

I noticed today (July 25th, 2014), Staples gift cards can’t be used for the purchase of any gift cards at The last order I made was a week ago. I bought one $200 Sears e-gift card. I used five Staples GCs (that had all small amounts) and Chase ink business credit card for the rest. The check-out was smooth, and the e-gift card was delivered a few days later.

And today, I tried to reorder, but can’t choose Staples gift card as payment. In check-out page, there are five payment methods: Credit Card, Visa Checkout, Staples Gift Card, Staples Rebate Card, and Pre-Paid Card. However, a check box of Staples Gift Card is dim and not clickable. I tried for Visa gift cards, but it was the same. I couldn’t choose Staples Gift Card as a payment.

no longer accept staples gc

Next, I added regular items like k-cups and copy papers, but the check box is still not clickable. Then I removed gift cards from a cart. Now I was able to click the check box of Staples Gift Card.

It seems that Staples no longer accepts Staples GCs for purchases of any gift cards. I was receiving Staples GCs from Discover credit card reward, and also purchasing at 5% to 7% off price at gift card exchange sites like Cardpool or ABC Gift Card.

Discover offers 20% discount when you redeem the reward for Staples GCs while it offers 10% discount for Sears GCs. So, I redeemed for Staples GCs and purchased Sears e-gift cards at It takes time, but I managed to get 20% discounted Sears GCs in this way.

The reason I bought Staples GCs at Cardpool or ABC Gift Card was that I wanted to speed up the process of spending American Express Gift Cards. I bought 5% to 7% discounted Staples GCs with AmEx GCs, then purchase Visa GCs at Visa GCs charge a purchase fee, but 5% to 7% discount offsets the fee, even leaves a profit. Once I get Visa GCs, I can reload AmEx Serve at Walmart, and then pay bills or withdraw money to my bank account.

Now that Staples GCs can’t buy other gift cards, I should stop ordering Staples GCs. I can continue to buy gift cards with Chase ink credit card, but I should look for another way to spend down AmEx GCs.

American Express Promo Code for Premium Shipping Plan

american express premium shipping plan

Today, American Express sent me an email about Premium Shipping Plan. Premium Shipping Plan costs $99, and you will get the following benefits:

  • Next-Day Shipping on gift card purchases on for a year
  • No limit, as often as you use for a year
  • No minimum purchase
  • New customer gets a 90-day free trial

An email I received today notifies that my free trial is about to expire. If I don’t cancel until the free trial ends, AmEx will charge $99 and process one-year enrollment. And they are going to send me $25 gift card as the thanks for an enrollment.

$25 gc for one year premium shipping plan enrollment

So, it is like a $25-off deal on Premium Shipping Plan. Since I intended to keep using the Plan anyway, I was very happy with this offer… However, after some research on the internet, there WAS a much better deal. According to Frequent Miler blog, there was a promo code to waive the fee of Premium Shipping Plan completely. Unfortunately, this code expired last month. I might have found and gotten this offer if my free trial expired last month.

What’s done is done. Now I have two options. One is to do nothing and let them charge $99 automatically, and then get $25 gift card. The other is to cancel Premium Shipping Plan and wait for a code to show up, which waives 100% of Premium Shipping Plan fee. If I take this option, I will lose the $25-off deal. Besides, nobody knows when the code shows up. Or nobody even knows if the code shows up again.

So, what I do is to pay attention to promotions for American Express Gift Card until my free trial expires. If the code shows up before it expires, I will cancel the Plan and then make a new enrollment with the code. Otherwise, I won’t do anything. AmEx will charge $99 automatically and send me $25 gift card. I purchase AmEx GCs every week or two. I don’t want to risk losing $25-off deal for the code that is uncertain to show up.

There are two weeks until my free trial expires. I hope the code will show up.

Serve Can’t Redeem AmEx GC Offer

American Express Serve is a reloadable prepaid card. One of its benefits is that you can sync up with Amex offers. Currently, there is an offer of $10 statement credit on the purchase of $200 or more American Express gift cards online. (expires on 07/30/2014)

amex offer on 200 or more amex gc

The offer was able to add to my Serve card, but you can’t redeem the offer because American Express doesn’t accept prepaid cards as payment for purchases of AmEx GCs.

After I had placed an order, I received an email from AmEx network. It said:

Thank you for using your synced American Express® Card

ending in xxxxx at AMEX GIFT CARDS!

Look out for a statement credit within 90 days.

Soon after, I received another email from AmEx. It said, “Your Card order cannot be completed.” Here are the details.

Thank you for placing your order for prepaid American Express Card(s). Unfortunately, we cannot fulfill order #1114xxxx at this time.

Your order was not fulfilled for the following reasons: At this time we do not accept gift cards as a form of payment.

It’s not big deal, but money I tried to use for AmEx GC has been on hold for a long time. It’s been three days after the check-out. The money is still on hold.

serve cant buy amex gc

And here is how the page at (online shopping portal) show this transaction.

cash back from befrugal on amex gc

I kind of knew that AmEx wouldn’t accept prepaid cards for the purchase of AmEx GCs. However, Serve synced with this offer. So I thought it would be worth a try. I missed one thing. I didn’t expect Serve kept the money on hold for so long time. You’d better not try to use prepaid cards for AmEx GCs.